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“We need a proper hut!” Frode complained as he entered his new tent. He was wise and intelligent enough not to get caught up in the frivolities of stations, ranks, and seniority, but his current tent just wasn’t conducive to the research he needed to do.

When Frode didn’t receive a response to his complaint, he realized Dreng wasn’t in the tent. It was early morning, so Frode found it odd the chieftain wasn’t still asleep.

“Sleep,” Frode whispered before continuing his work. It was something he hadn’t gotten since James told him about the spirit vessel. Even though he told James not to worry about the thing, he found that he couldn’t stop worrying about it himself. There was something about it that gnawed at him. It urged him to recall something from his past, yet Frode had no idea what it could be.

His father did have a spirit vessel, and that spirit vessel behaved in the same way as the one James now had. They were both similar except for one thing. James’s spirit was released. Frode struggled to recall his childhood but had no memory of his father’s spirit ever leaving the vessel.

“The rain,” Frode whispered. The rain was what was different, not the vessels themselves.

Frode had never seen rain before the first day it fell and knocked the spirit from its vessel. James had explained to everyone that it was natural and that it was merely water.

“Why has it never rained before then?” Frode asked himself, “Have the gods willed it so? Has the arrival of James awoken something in the world that has been in slumber?” Frode knew it was all tied together and was determined to figure out how.

The chieftain’s advisor stomped out of his tent, past the two other Martyr tents, and up to the mountain. He reached out and began to climb the cliff face. He wasn’t too large to use the Tower of Stairs, but large enough that doing so would have increased his growing anxiety. Frode crested the cliff, wiped himself off, and re-gripped his staff as he stood up and took in the sight of the human’s campground. He remarked that the cabin was quite lovely but admitted he wouldn’t want to climb the cliff every time he wanted to get some sleep. The cottage suited the humans well, but he and the rest of the Martyrs still needed an upgrade.

Frode quickly found the training area the humans had built and tossed his staff from hand to hand, getting a feel for its balance once again. He needed to figure out what the sudden changes in his world meant for his tribe. He needed to prepare for the challenges ahead. He would conduct his research, the Martyr way.

45 damage done to Training Dummy.

40 damage done to Training Dummy.

46 damage done to Training Dummy.

Frode quickened his pace and attacked the dummies faster, but clarity still didn’t come. The training area was undoubtedly useful for gaining experience, but that wasn’t his primary objective. Actual combat cleared his mind. It was one of the many benefits of his race. Other creatures panicked when their lives were on the line, but not his race. They were wise, intelligent, and fearsome.

Hearty Strength Enhancement - Your strength is increased by 20 for 10 minutes.

69 damage done to Training Dummy.

62 damage done to Training Dummy.

70 damage done to Training Dummy.

A trickle of sweat fell from Frode's forehead as his muscles greedily pulsed with their newfound power and yet, the Martyr advisor’s thoughts were still cloudy.

“Faster,” he chanted to himself, “faster!”

Quick Agility Enhancement - Your agility is increased by 20 for 10 minutes.

The chieftain’s advisor slammed his staff into one training dummy and deftly leaped to another. His heart pounded faster in an attempt to keep up with his exertion, but Frode didn’t let it. He continued to put more strength into every hit and even more speed into every maneuver. He knew he was no match for a surprise Oana attack, but he became a whirlwind of destruction if he had time to cast his enhancements. He was even more effective if he had time to throw his enhancements on another. Frode lost himself in the simplicity of battle.

Suddenly, a thought interrupted Frode’s trance: Where are the humans?

Frode panted, his old body threatening to crumble from the combined stress of his recent exertion and the loss of his enhancements. He didn’t much care what the humans were up too since Dreng said he would communicate with them to coordinate town defenses, but he knew he should follow his hunch. It was a part of his class. His shamanistic abilities were born from following his instincts. Frode knew if he cleared his mind with battle, his Martyr and class traits would kick in to give him some insight. With his clue in mind, he began casting.

Epic Intelligence Enhancement - Your Intelligence is increased by 50 for 10 minutes.

Frode set off to find the human cubs. Before the aging Martyr could finish searching the cabin, something tugged at the back of his mind, causing him to pause mid-stride. Confusion and excitement intermingled in his body and caused his fur to stand on end. The feeling passed and left him feeling complete. He was on the path to discovery, just like his father had been before him. Frode focused on the feeling in the back of his mind.

‘Greetings, Shaman,’ Frode heard from inside his head.

He had the urge to glance around to see who was in the cabin but instinctively knew it would have been a waste of his energy. The advisor mentally reached out to the voice, connecting with it.

‘Who are you?’ he asked.

‘I am one of the spirits that protect your world.’

‘You can speak?’ Frode asked.

He suspected the voice in his head belonged to the spirit vessel, but now it was all but confirmed. It was also evident to Frode that the spirit vessel could speak, but even with his Intelligence enhancement, he couldn’t think of the best way to phrase his many questions. He wanted to know if there were more spirit vessels, if they all could talk, and he wanted to know their real purpose. More than that, he wanted to see if it was possible that his father could speak to his spirit vessel and if that ability was what drove him crazy.

The spirit whispered back, ‘Yessssss,’ and the chieftain’s advisor was pulled from his plane of existence - the echoes of his staff hitting the wooden floor the only indication that he was ever there inside the cabin.

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About the author

BigMartyrs

Bio: Writer of disparate LitRPG stories.

Current works = Legends of the Great Savanna (published) , Milton (Ongoing)

Stay in touch at JLLincoln.com

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